Cleveland should keep pursuing Royce O’Neale
Before free agency began, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets had almost agreed on a trade that would send Royce O’Neale to the Cavs at the February deadline, but talks fell through in the final minutes.
Although the Cavs may already have significantly improved their wing depth, O’Neale would still be a tremendous bench player in the Land. The initial appeal of the Brooklyn wing is his 3-point shooting. While Strus improves Cleveland’s perimeter presence, O’Neale’s career 38.4 percent 3-point shot would make the Cavaliers ferocious floor spacing.
O’Neale is the exact archetype of a 3-and-D wing. Isaac Okoro has incredible defense, but his offensive inconsistencies are worrisome. Strus, a sharpshooting wing, is an average system defender but cannot make defensive stops on his own. Royce O’Neale, though, offers the best of both worlds.
All this praise and love for O’Neale suggests that he is some sort of superstar the Cavs could never afford. Does he have any flaws? Yes, O’Neale is a streaky shooter. At times, he is lights out. Other times, it seems like the lights have gone out. Even with this in mind, trading for O’Neale without losing Okoro or Strus only adds to Cleveland’s depth.
On nights when O’Neale struggles, the Cavaliers are not ruined. When Okoro or Strus are in a slump or injured, O’Neale keeps the Cavaliers alive.
Before the season begins, Cleveland needs to speak with the Nets to reignite those conversations. O’Neale is the ideal role player for the Cavaliers, especially now with the greater perimeter depth on the roster.
The final trade target is looking to find his place in the NBA right now, but he has shown flashes of his value.